I seem to have walked through the wardrobe and found myself here again. The trees are becoming heavy with snow which is predicted to continue. The BBC weather forecast says the temperature here in deepest east sussex will plummet to minus ten by Friday, which is when we are due to go to London to see son play the romantic lead in West Side Story. The launch of a poetry anthology I was to have attended today has been cancelled because of weather. Leaving aside other considerations I would not, in any case, have been able to get my car out of the road.
I am uneasy in my soul - for other reasons than those listed above, and also for no clear reason, but the wintry landscape does serve as metaphor. It is Narnia in the grip of the White Witch, and Aslan is not in evidence. Of course, this is the real advent experience, everything getting darker and more difficult. It is just at this time (at these times) that you have to light the candle, that substance inside you, the wax and wick of it. I have lost my box of household matches, and here - conveniently - is another metaphor. I do not have the werewithal to light the candle. Well, ok, I lit it from the gas stove, but you get my drift.
There is food in the house, enough for today at any rate, and it is warm here. If I could just get myself out of the cold forest. But on the other hand, I have been there before and know the terrain.
Go deep and you are on hard ground.
You know the way the air grows cold,
it’s always winter and the light burns low
in a single lantern on a post, and you are
lost again. Flame won’t flicker, heart won’t beat.
The wardrobe is dreaming you out, pushing you
from the nest of your familiars to wander in the
dark wood. You have no compass. It is good.
Your breath is white, the ghost of owl calls
from the forest. Who walks in the night?